Flourish – August 2017

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASo my poem below is about questioning, a word that begins with ‘quest’, which is going out into the unknown, with a question we want to ask of the universe. Questioning is such a deep motivation of the human spirit, the fact that there may not or ever be an answer does not deter us; we swim out and at times risk even drowning in the not-knowing because it is in the end the only way to live, to grow, to love. Here is a line from a beautiful poem of Rilke… ‘for where I am closed I am false’… When we allow our self to be taken by the ocean of un-knowing, the unanswerable somehow becomes the way, the opening, the truth. So the poem really comes from opening to my own lostness, and I woke a few mornings ago experiencing my body in the curled shape of a question-mark. The dot at the bottom became all the unanswered questions and unfinished sentences, the humiliation of it all… and yet the surprising joy of this lingering in liminal space where the human resides. I then saw dear soul friends and friends and acquaintances and those I’ve seen or don’t yet know or will never know, spanning out to everyone who’s risked this journey of life, all as bobbing curled little question-marks, each finding ways to tread water or swim in the unanswerable, because deep down we want to be and meet others and be known in this un-knowing. The quote by William Blake then came to me, and the sense that perhaps the ‘deities’ are the deepest questions that we ask of ourselves or others from the heart; the deity waiting to be seen, heard, touched. In all its shapes and forms. In here is the knowing and in turning towards is the flourishing.

FLOURISH

I lay and wondered,
Is there an answer to this?
My body is curled, without question,
Whilst my head marks out this line…

I am a lone dot who, like you,
Is some times treading water
At the bottom of my unknowing,
And some times a swimmer,
Fold and reach within the wave,
Carving streams in sweat and salt,
In oceans of other curling bodies,
Each with their unanswerable,
Un-joined sentences and dots,
Yet these, all deities and mystery
Residing in the human breast!*

My body lifts its eyes
And thinks, now for itself,
Today it is fine to hope,
Rise, walk into the garden,
All wetted by the tide of night,
And curl your toes,
Open out your arms,
Not for rescue but to
Be O so all-human,
Humbled, divine,
And flourish.

** ‘All deities reside in the human breast’ – William Blake

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